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The White House on Tuesday said the United States "does not want a crisis" and is "prepared to manage what Beijing chooses to do" as House Speaker Pelosi arrived in Taiwan despite China’s warnings against her visit.
White House National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby said Tuesday that even before Pelosi’s visit, China "positioned itself to take further steps, and we expect that they will continue to react over a longer-term horizon."
"The United States will not and does not, will not seek, and does not want a crisis," Kirby said.
Kirby stressed that there is "no reason" for China to take Pelosi’s "perfectly legitimate and consistent travel" and turn it into "some pretext for amping up the tensions of creating some sort of crisis of conflict."
"There's just simply no reason for that because she's not acting, we’re not acting, in any way inconsistent with the way we've been acting now for decades, since the Taiwan Relations Act was passed into law back in the late 70s," Kirby said.
"I would just say that we don't support Taiwan independence — we’ve said that before," Kirby said. "We do support Taiwan's self-defense in keeping with the Taiwan Relations Act. We’re going to keep doing it, and we're going to keep working on revitalizing our alliances and partnerships in the region for a free and open Indo-Pacific."
"We are prepared to manage what Beijing chooses to do," Kirby said. "At the same time, we will not engage in saber-rattling."
Kirby stressed that the U.S. seeks to "maintain communication with Beijing," and "will keep doing what we are doing, which is supporting Cross-Strait peace and stability."
Pelosi arrived in Taiwan Tuesday amid an extensive tour of multiple allied nations in Asia and after weeks of threats of retaliation from the Chinese Communist Party.
"Our visit is one of several Congressional delegations to Taiwan – and it in no way contradicts longstanding United States policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, U.S.-China Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances," Pelosi said in a statement after arrival. "The United States continues to oppose unilateral efforts to change the status quo."
The U.S. does not have official relations with Taiwan, although it has increased engagements with the island and has tried to discourage China from invading.
Pelosi is the first House speaker to visit Taiwan since Newt Gingrich in 1997, and the Taiwanese government has been eager to host the speaker. Diplomatic trips of this level could serve to provide Taiwan legitimacy on the world stage.